US soldier faces hearing in Afghanistan massacre - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

US soldier faces hearing in Afghanistan massacre

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) - A preliminary hearing is under way for the U.S. soldier accused of carrying out one of the worst atrocities of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is charged with 16 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of attempted murder for a pre-dawn attack on two villages in Kandahar Province last March.  Among the victims were nine children.

The 39-year-old father of two from Lake Tapps, Wash., is facing what's called an Article 32 hearing to determine whether there's enough evidence to send his case to a court martial.  The hearing is scheduled to run as long as two weeks, and part will be held at night to allow video testimony by witnesses in Afghanistan.